Freedom of Press & Independence of Justice Dept. at Risk….

It cannot be overstated how important freedom of press is to maintaining a democratic society.  As these new rankings below reveal, our president is not only complicit in attacking the American freedom of press, but his influence is harming journalism around the world.  Trump is relentless in his hopes to create a false reality based on lies & crazy conspiracies, only to hide his own failings & corruption.  He lies several times a day, & in demanding loyalty from his loyal puppets it’s required they lie also, which Fox news & the echo are all in.  The Trump base perpetuate the lies simply by buying in.  Together that extreme rightwing crowd have formed their own polluted bubble in a depraved alternate universe, which their tribal cult could succeed in destroying our democracy as freedom of press becomes one of the casualties.

I sense most Americans fail to grasp the threat, which by the time they do it’ll be too late.  The dangers to democracy are real coming from a corrupt unhinged president.  See these articles how America has dropped in the World Press Freedom Index, largely due to Trump & his incessant attacks on the media: us-press-freedom-ranking-falls-again-thanks-to-media-bashing-enthusiast-trump & also trumps-media-bashing-style-worsens-us-standing-in-world-press-freedom & also us-falls-to-45th-on-press-freedom-index-trump-labeled-media-bashing-enthusiast & also reporters-without-borders-just-released-its-annual-press-freedom-report-card-and-the-grades-are-dismal & also USA-press-freedoms-continue-to-shrink-as-Trump-s-cries-of-fake-news-spread-globally & finally this one Thanks-to-Donald-Trump-the-U-S-Falls-to-45th-Place-in-the-World-Press-Freedom-Index.  Below I’ve posted links from us-falls-in-world-press-freedom-index:

Urged on by influential figures such as U.S. President Donald Trump, a growing number of world leaders are openly encouraging hostility toward the news media as journalists across the globe face increasing animosity for their work, according to a report by an international press watchdog organization. That is the conclusion from the 2018 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, or RSF. The annual ranking, released on Wednesday and which also showed a big decline in freedom of speech across the world, dropped the U.S. two positions from its 2017 position, to No. 45 overall.

Trump, who is just 15 months into his presidency, has popularized the phrase “fake news” as a reference to unflattering news reports. The phrase has become widely used by many of his supporters and, according to the RSF report, among a growing number of world leaders. “More and more democratically elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion,” RSF said in a statement accompanying the release of its rankings. “A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as ‘enemies of the people,’ the term once used by (former Soviet leader) Joseph Stalin.”

Statements by Trump are also responsible for the decline in media freedom around the world, the organization said. After Trump called CNN a fake news organization, some Libyan media outlets questioned the cable network’s report on modern slave auctions in the country last year. “The U.S.’ decline in press freedom is not simply bad news for journalists working inside the country; the downward trend has drastic consequences at the international level,” RSF said. “‘Fake news’ is now a trademark excuse for media repression, in both democratic and authoritarian regimes.”

Fake news tirades from Trump are not just a lie, but a mantra used by dictators around the world to squash a free press.  The damage initiated by Trump could be contagious & permanent.  See these excerpts on this same subject from us-slips-again-in-world-press-freedom-index:

The U.S. has fallen from 43rd to 45th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index—due in no small part to President Donald Trump and his routine attacks on the press, according to a report released on Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders. “In 2017, the 45th President of the United States helped sink the country to 45th place by labeling the press an ‘enemy of the American people’ in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempts to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routine use of the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and calling for media outlets’ broadcasting licenses to be revoked,” the report from RWB read.

Trump’s public disdain for the media has been echoed by his supporters. Last year, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was body-slammed by Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MN) for asking a question about the Republican’s health-care plan. “Get him the hell out of here,” Gianforte reportedly said after lashing out at Jacobs. In January, the Republican National Committee held the inaugural “fake news awards,” dishing out honors to The Times and CNN, frequent Trump targets. The RNC website crashed when the awards debuted. “The US’ decline in press freedom is not simply bad news for journalists working inside the country; the downward trend has drastic consequences at the international level,” the RWB report says. “‘Fake news’ is now a trademark excuse for media repression, in both democratic and authoritarian regimes.”

Wanna-be dictators don’t just stop at the media, but usurping total power also requires taking complete control of the security/intelligence agencies.  Trump just went on a rant Thursday morning exclaiming what’s going on in the Justice Dept. is a complete disgrace, but in reality, those civil servants are only doing their jobs.  What is a complete disgrace is the way Trump keeps attacking our intelligence agencies for investigating a legitimate case where evidence of criminal wrongdoing is increasingly credible.  So Trump is using the Fox megaphone to convince his base he’s above the law since his assault on those law enforcement officials is a blatant attempt to stop them from unveiling the facts that would be very damaging to him.  The bigger strategy is to stop Mueller, which he’s unleashed some of his deranged goons from the House Freedom Caucus to take down Rosenstein, clearing a path to target Mueller.  See these excerpts from trump-threatens-to-seize-control-of-justice-department:

But the most disturbing moment came at the very end, when Trump threatened to force the Department of Justice to adopt his own chosen priorities, ignoring the “phony” charges against him, and prosecuting the “real” ones against his opponents: You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it’s a disgrace. And our Justice Department – which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won’t – our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia. There is no collusion with me and everyone knows it. At this point, astonishingly, the embarrassed hosts ushered Trump off the phone, insisting he must be busy — likely the only time in memory a “journalist” has cut short an interview with the president of the United States. Trump is making his intentions perfectly clear. He wants the Department of Justice to lock up his political opponents and witnesses to his misbehavior. And he wants it to stop investigating his own misdeeds. The Department of Justice is constructed around restraints designed to prevent any such interference, because the power to use federal law enforcement as a weapon to protect the president and his party, and to harass the opposition, is so terrifying it has to be prevented at all costs. Trump is, on national television, making existential threats to the rule of law.

Similar disturbing reports come from trump-threatens-to-intervene-in-justice-department & also trump-announces-hes-considering-interfering-with-justice-department-investigations & also this one trump-says-he-might-get-more-involved-in-managing-the-justice-department.  And as is seen inside as-trump-threatens-to-get-more-involved-at-justice-department-its-alums-push-back, former Justice employees are sounding the alarm:

As of Thursday, more than 900 former Justice employees had signed an open letter calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond to protect the founding principles of our Republic and the rule of law” if Trump were to move on Mueller or other Justice Department officials. Trump has long raged about Sessions recusing himself from the investigation that Mueller now leads. Those inside the Justice Department have been on edge since the FBI earlier this month raided the home, office and hotel room of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Former Justice officials often speak out about issues important to them, but the volume and forcefulness with which many are criticizing Trump is notable. Former Justice Department officials critical of Trump have stopped short of calling for the president to be removed from office by impeachment. So far, their pleas have mostly been that voters and legislators take notice. Bellinger said he hoped that more Republicans who held senior Justice Department positions, in particular, would join the chorus of voices defending the agency.

Fox Fake News & Other Phony Echo Messaging

What adds dramatically to the danger is how naive Trumpeters & echo fans are accepting of the lies, as evidenced by this polling: half-of-republicans-say-the-news-media-should-be-described-as-the-enemy-of-the-american-people.  Dangers of fascism are directly correlated with an acceptance of a false reality disconnected from truths, as we see in the delusions propagated by the echo.  A nation that can’t even agree on the facts, it’s not likely to agree on much anything else.  The echo no longer reports on facts, but is a propaganda machine churning out a radical scorched-earth agenda which was directly responsible for the rise of Trump.  Freedom of press is sacrosanct, but it would be hoped almost all Americans could have the discernment to see through the lies & conspiracies.  Sadly, it’s become apparent millions don’t see it & are part of the problem.  Many conservatives hooked on Fox & the echo are in a very dark place, so please try to enlighten them by sharing The Voracs.

As far as TV hosts go, nobody is more dishonest, deceitful, hypocritical, corrupt & destructive as Hannity.  Like so many Trump cronies who worked closely with their leader during the campaign & presidency, only time will tell whose actions also rise to the level of criminality.  A few have been indicted or plead guilty already, so expect many more to follow.  There are also some curious real estate deals Hannity has been involved with that we haven’t heard the last of yet.  Please read the latest articles about him in why-sean-hannitys-fans-will-keep-on-loving-him-even-if-he-is-a-welfare-queen & also sean-hannity-kept-getting-deals-on-properties-previously-owned-by-a-fraudster-specializing-in-foreclosures & also sean-hannity-real-estate-property-dealer-jeff-brock-fraud-foreclosures & also hannity-linked-shell-company-bought-properties-through-fraudulent-dealer & finally sean-who-an-afternoon-in-hannityville.  These excerpts come from sean-hannity-has-a-90-million-real-estate-side-hustle-going-on:

Fox News host Sean Hannity is responding to the “latest fake news attack” against him, playing the victim to claim that he is being vilified for “investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment.” Despite his frequent rants against liberal or media “elites,” an extensive report from The Guardian on Monday revealed that Hannity is linked to numerous shell companies that have spent at least $90 million on nearly 900 properties across the country. Furthermore, belying his supposed conservative principles, Hannity’s empire was purchased at a deep discount to him and at a cost to taxpayers.”[D]ozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages,” the paper reported. According to public records, the properties were purchased by limited liability companies (LLCs) connected to Hannity in states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont. “Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them,” the Guardian reported. A portion of the properties Hannity acquired were “with support from the Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the HUD secretary, on his television show last year,” the Guardian reported. The Fox News host and close Trump confidante got $17 million in HUD loans to buy the biggest property in his foreclosure empire. But others, including some in conservative media, were quick to note the blatant gulf in Hannity’s public agitations and his personal practice. “I think it’s funny Sean Hannity turns out to be a welfare queen for HUD, having taken advantage of guarantees that were put forward by none other than the Obama administration,” conservative pundit Brett Stephens observed on MSNBC on Monday.

Here’s an article from a conservative after my own heart the-trump-hannity-relationship-takes-conservatives-one-more-step-toward-the-moral-low-ground, as you can see from these excerpts:

Conservatives, including myself, have endlessly complained that the mainstream media has long been too cozy with Democrats in power. Now it’s time for conservatives to talk about Sean Hannity. Reports that Fox News host Sean Hannity is so close to Trump “that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff” probably deserve more attention—and (for those of us who want to be consistent) condemnation.  In the case of Hannity, they have eliminated the middle man. “The phone calls between President Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air,” writes The Washington PostChalk this up as just the latest example of conservatives wanting to “fight fire with fire” and ape the other side. But it also means surrendering the moral high ground and becoming no better than your adversaries. As John Ziegler explains, “Once you have defended and accepted certain behavior from a president, it is awfully difficult, even in a world where hypocrisy is now longer seen as politically lethal, to claim that similar acts are unacceptable for any other elected office.” Donald Trump and Sean Hannity are doing the kind of things that conservative Republicans used to rightly abhor. We’re all hypocrites, now.

Trump appeared on Fox & Friends yesterday morning & came off so unhinged on a bizarre rant, I wanted to provide these links below to highlight the main lowlights.  As mentioned above, Trump expressed interest in taking over the Justice Dept. while he also went off on the news media, plus thought arresting his political opponents might be a good idea.  Any dictator around the world would be proud of Trump’s performance.  Just consider the gravity of what we’re hearing from our leader, this is America!  The bastion of democracy!  Are we morphing into Russia & China?  In his rambling TV appearance, he also admitted he stayed overnight in Moscow about the same time the Steele dossier mentioned the pee tape.  Other statements from Trump featured Cohen did represent him in the Stormy case, but the prez then made one of his patented lies by claiming Cohen only represented him in a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy number of his legal cases.  His psychotic bluster on Fox & Friends suggests a person who knows he’s in real trouble, so check out these links here:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

Even his cabinet picks are not being vetted & are totally clueless/unqualified (see part 1), since Trump picks them only based on how well they play on Fox News.  And as we’ve seen repeatedly from Fox fake news, they continue to bend over backwards to hide negative news on Trump & his administration: fox-news-blacks-out-mick-mulvaneys-admission-that-he-sold-access-to-lobbyists.  Identifying other evil forces invading our government, here’s an article on the kings of dark, corrupt money: while-corporate-media-remains-fixated-trump-kochtopus-extending-its-tentacles.  And we also see the dark, corrupt crony capitalism that’s been unleashed from the Citizens United decision: will-dark-money-swamp-the-blue-wave-democrats-fundraising-lead-could-be-deceptive.  When it comes to Trump’s lackeys in Congress, this guy has been shown to be as corrupt as they come: how-nunes-broke-intelligence-committee.  And yes, there is a very scary element among Trump’s base: howard-dean-neo-nazis-burning-swastikas-are-trump-base-voters & also see modern-militia-movement-90s-guns.

When a group starts serving the wrong master, it can be a fine line between a faith & cult.  We’ve seen how some Christian broadcasting has gone from abiding by heavenly leadership over more to earthly leadership, where they’ve been corrupted much like Fox: trump-christian-evangelical-conservatives-television-tbn-cbn.  There are some principled Christians fighting back at the sheer horror of what they’re witnessing: at-a-private-meeting-in-illinois-a-group-of-evangelicals-tried-to-save-their-movement-from-trumpism.  But look at what the unfortunate results have been from blindly following a moral degenerate, as seen in these excerpts from cal-thomas-criticizes-christian-leaders-for-unaccountable-devotion-to-trump:

Conservative columnist Cal Thomas criticized some Christian leaders in an op-ed on Tuesday for their “unaccountable devotion” to President Trump. “Today, ‘evangelicals’ are perceived by many as one more interest group attached to the Republican Party and especially President Trump. Its members need to make a choice as to which one is their true ‘master.’ They can’t serve both,” Thomas wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News. “What would be the world’s perception of evangelicals if they started obeying the commands of their true leader? Those commands are to love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, feed the hungry (that’s personal, not government), clothe the naked, visit those in prison and care for widows and orphans,” he continued. Trump has enjoyed widespread popularity among evangelical voters. A Public Religion Research Institute poll released last week found that 75 percent of white evangelical respondents said they view Trump favorably. Only 22 percent of those polled said they view Trump unfavorably. The religious bloc has stayed loyal to Trump throughout a number of personal controversies, including the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he is heard bragging about groping women without their consent.